What will it take to get the City to clean up the trash in this town?
A few days ago, I was driving down South Grant Street in Amarillo and noticed a stack of four tires sitting on the curb. Typically there wouldn't be any big deal with this type of situation, as the City has already been notified of the trash on the curb and it is likely just there until crews come to clean it up.
However, this particular stack of tires has been in the same spot since last summer. I remember seeing and photographing these same tires around August of last year, marking about a full year since the tires have been dumped in this spot. Still, the tires remain and, to add insult to injury, this stack of tires sits just blocks from Amarillo City Hall and the future home of the downtown ballpark.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, discarded tires pose many potential health risks. Concerns have been raised about toxin releases from discarded tires, fire hazards caused by discarded tires and pest issues that are caused by discarded tires. For example, the City of Amarillo's previous mosquito prevention programs have targeted tires accumulating water as possible breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Still, the tires remain.
Do these tires themselves really mean anything? Probably not. However, these tires do serve as a reminder of the failures of the City of Amarillo on trash clean up and environmental safety programs.
Last year, the City of Amarillo implemented a program which would force residents to call for pickup of bulk trash items. However, as was stated at a recent community meeting, one resident was given a citation by City staff after the wrong department was called about bulk trash. If this is true, then what is the incentive for residents to follow the City's instructions if it's possible they could be fined for doing so?
Remember the City's plan to establish the trash cart program for certain Amarillo neighborhoods? Remember how residents loudly expressed opposition to the policy? The City Council voted unanimously to approve the program anyway.
There was also the time the City of Amarillo decided to shut down chipping sites as a way to save money. Almost immediately, residents began noticing trees, limbs, and more being dumped in alleys and other places.
The City's bulk trash program has also led to objects like mattresses being discarded in the middle of busy streets.
In each one of these scenarios, the City promised that their changes would bring big benefits for the citizens of Amarillo. And, in the end, each case revealed even more failures of government's ill-conceived solutions to non-existent problems.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-in-Chief
Please note: The Amarillo Pioneer has reached out to the City of Amarillo for information and statistics on bulk trash cleanup in Amarillo. The City of Amarillo has not yet responded to our requests.